Har­ness­ing the rip­ple ef­fect of coach­ing… to de­liver pow­er­ful lead­er­ship les­sons

Physics was never my thing at school…not by a long way, yet a small in­sight into the physics of rip­ples will cre­ate a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of their power and pres­ence in ev­ery­thing we do and how lead­er­ship coach­ing can cre­ate the right type of rip­ples.

Business First - - COACHING - By Richard Day

At best man­agers, teach­ers and men­tors alike who are charged with the re­spon­si­bil­ity of im­prov­ing skills and per­for­mance, can only go as far as set­ting up an en­vi­ron­ment that is con­ducive to stim­u­late that mo­ti­va­tion and bring it out of the in­di­vid­ual, who op­er­ates within that sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ment.

With apolo­gies to physi­cists past, present and fu­ture…a rip­ple, is quite sim­ply, an en­ergy wave from a source; for ex­am­ple, the rip­ples that em­anate from a rain drop on the sur­face of a pool of wa­ter.

I’m sure that all lead­ers read­ing this ar­ti­cle can as­so­ciate with the con­cept that they are in fact the source of much of the en­ergy that pulses through the or­ga­ni­za­tion or busi­ness they lead on a daily ba­sis.

One of the ben­e­fits of coach­ing is de­vel­op­ing an aware­ness of the en­ergy that ev­ery leader brings on a daily ba­sis and what ‘rip­ples’ re­sult and how that im­pacts the or­gan­i­sa­tion mo­ment to mo­ment in other words coach­ing as­sists in­di­vid­u­als in be­com­ing aware of the thoughts and be­hav­iours they have and the in­evitable im­pact they have on oth­ers.

In fact, there has been much re­search on the im­pact of coach­ing at the in­di­vid­ual level and much of it, mostly aligned to fa­mil­ial as­pects of coach­ing such as goal achieve­ment, health and well be­ing, in­creased level of mas­tery and self lead­er­ship, men­tal re­silience and re­duc­tion of work­place stress and anx­i­ety amongst other things. (Green et al. 2006) (Gyl­len­sten and Palmer 2005)

In­ter­est­ingly though, there is some re­search track­ing the

im­pact of coach­ing on some­thing iden­ti­fied as Com­plex Adap­tive Sys­tems the­ory (CAS). (O’Con­nor and Ca­vanagh 2013) CAS is an emerg­ing the­ory that at­tempts to un­der­stand the in­ter­con­nected rip­ples of or­gan­i­sa­tional ac­tions, de­ci­sions and be­hav­iours. Be­cause or­ga­ni­za­tions and busi­nesses are essen­tially in­ter­ac­tive sys­tems the cross over rip­ple ef­fect is enor­mous at ev­ery level around ev­ery be­hav­iour, action and out­come.

A clas­sic ex­am­ple of the ex­tra­or­di­nary power of this con­cept is the re­cent tur­moil around the Aus­tralian Cricket team and the ball tam­per­ing scan­dal

(In a pre­vi­ous life I was a High Per­for­mance Coach to elite sports teams so this is­sue is of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est to me.)

As a case study on the ‘rip­ple’ ef­fect of poor sport­ing and team lead­er­ship be­hav­iour it is pos­si­bly with­out peer…un­for­tu­nately.

As a re­sult of the com­plex adap­tive sys­tems the­ory or rip­ple ef­fect; this scan­dal has had an im­pact on the col­lec­tive psy­che of a proud sport­ing na­tion; it has also im­pacted Aus­tralia’s in­ter­na­tional sport­ing rep­u­ta­tion, the fi­nan­cial well be­ing of the game and the men­tal health of some of its play­ers. It has also, no doubt, ended ca­reers and the per­cep­tion of the game from the eyes of im­pres­sion­able youth.

Trag­i­cally, this is not the com­plete extent of the dam­age ei­ther.

Quite some rip­ple ef­fect as I am sure you would agree and all due to a small but crit­i­cal lapse in lead­er­ship judge­ment.

So what role could a coach and coach­ing play in the abil­ity to make bet­ter de­ci­sions and cre­ate a pos­i­tive rip­ple ef­fect in any en­vi­ron­ment?

De­pend­ing on your coach­ing style the an­swer could vary how­ever most pro­fes­sional coaches en­joy ex­plor­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween your per­sonal val­ues and your de­ci­sions and be­hav­iours and the sub­se­quent “rip­ples” you cre­ate as a re­sult.

For ex­am­ple, an au­then­tic leader with an un­der­stand­ing of what their pur­pose is in life and busi­ness, as well as what val­ues an­chor them, can cre­ate “rip­ples” of lead­er­ship au­then­tic­ity.

Can you imag­ine how the re­cently de­posed Aus­tralian crick­eters may have be­haved if they were aligned with the val­ues and ex­pec­ta­tions of the team, their coach and the game it­self.

A pow­er­ful coach­ing con­ver­sa­tion might have ex­plored what they stood for as in­di­vid­u­als and within the team and what they wanted their re­spec­tive rep­u­ta­tions and lega­cies to be.

Strate­gi­cally, start­ing with the end in mind.

So, how does coach­ing re­sult in pow­er­ful lead­er­ship les­sons that have a pos­i­tive rip­ple ef­fect? 1. Coach­ing is de­signed to chal­lenge the in­di­vid­ual leader and the way in which that leader in­ter­acts with the sys­tem through gen­er­at­ing aware­ness and sel­f­re­flec­tive op­por­tu­ni­ties, which in turn min­i­mizes the risk of bad de­ci­sions. 2. Coach­ing pro­vides a safe space and op­por­tu­nity to re­view both per­sonal and pro­fes­sional align­ment. 3. Coach­ing im­proves the un­der­stand­ing be­tween the au­then­tic­ity of your be­hav­iour choice and your val­ues and be­liefs. 4. Coach­ing may also al­low you to un­der­stand and ex­plore your strengths and how you would use them to make bet­ter de­ci­sions and be more au­then­tic as a leader.

Ul­ti­mately though, each of us de­cides the size, shape and height of the rip­ples and waves we cre­ate and the value they have in our lives and the lives of oth­ers.

Coach­ing helps you to learn how to surf the waves of un­cer­tainty un­til they be­come rip­ples of em­pow­er­ment and in­spi­ra­tion.

“Just as rip­ples spread out when a sin­gle peb­ble is dropped into wa­ter, the ac­tions of in­di­vid­u­als can have far-reach­ing ef­fects.” ~ Dalai Lama. Ref­er­ences: Green, L.S., Oades, L.G., & Grant, A. M. (2006) Cog­ni­tive-be­havioural, so­lu­tion-fo­cused life coach­ing: En­hanc­ing goal striv­ing, well-be­ing and hope. The Jour­nal of Pos­i­tive Psy­chol­ogy.

Gyl­len­sten, K., Palmer, S. (2005) Can coach­ing re­duce work­place stress. The Coach­ing Psy­chol­o­gist.

O’Con­nor, S., & Ca­vanagh, M. (2013) The coach­ing rip­ple ef­fect: The ef­fects of de­vel­op­men­tal coach­ing on well­be­ing across or­gan­i­sa­tional net­works. Psy­chol­ogy of Well-Be­ing: The­ory, Re­search and Prac­tice. Richard Day PCC “Po­ten­tial­ist” helps in­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses in­crease their Im­pact, In­flu­ence and In­come...Ev­ery­where. He is the Brand and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Leader of the Vic­to­rian Branch of the In­ter­na­tional Coach Fed­er­a­tion Aus­trala­sia Chap­ter (ICF). Glob­ally, ICF has over 32,000 mem­bers, over 65% of whom are cre­den­tialed, in 149 coun­tries.

In­ter­na­tional Coach Fed­er­a­tion (ICF) is the lead­ing global or­gan­i­sa­tion ded­i­cated to ad­vanc­ing the coach­ing pro­fes­sion by set­ting high stan­dards, pro­vid­ing in­de­pen­dent cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and build­ing a world­wide net­work of trained coach­ing pro­fes­sion­als.

Con­tact us at pres­i­dent.vic­to­ria@ ic­faus­trala­sia.com and we will di­rect you to the best per­son on our team to an­swer any ques­tions you may have.

‘A pow­er­ful coach­ing con­ver­sa­tion might have ex­plored what they stood for as in­di­vid­u­als and within the team and what they wanted their re­spec­tive rep­u­ta­tions and lega­cies to be.’

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